Chief Ebola doctor contracts the deadly virus

BY Ayan Sheikh  July 23, 2014 at 2:10 PM EST

A view of gloves and boots used by medical staff, drying in the sun, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014.  Photo by Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images

A view of gloves and boots used by medical staff, drying in the sun, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. Photo by Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images

The doctor leading the fight against the world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has contracted the virus, according to government officials.

Sheik Umar Khan has been admitted to a hospital in the Eastern province of Sierra Leone and is undergoing treatment.

The 39-year-old doctor is considered a national hero and is credited for treating scores of people suffering from the virus.

Health Minister Miatta Kargbo said she would “do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives.”

Ebola is spread by a virus that is initially transmitted from wild animals; it has a high fatality rate and no cure. The virus kills up to 90 percent of those infected, however patients have a better chance of survival if the virus is detected early on.

According to the United Nations, 630 people have died since the virus was detected in Guinea in February and the virus has spread across borders and into several West African countries like Liberia. Symptoms of Ebola include high fever, vomiting, internal and external bleeding as well as diarrhea.

Khan seemed aware of the risks involved with dealing with Ebola, telling Reuters late last month “I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life.”

He also said “Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by disease.”